The small village of Matala centres around Matala Beach a natural bay which is the main beach. Bordering the northern side of this bay are the Matala Caves which were artificially hewn into the naturally occurring sandstone rock cliff. These structures are the main attraction in Matala and are attributed to either the Romans or early Christians. In the 1960's visiting hippies took up residence in these caves and the town and it's then residents were then immortalised in the song Carey by Joni Mitchell in 1971. The town's last and perhaps most famous hippy, Matala George is now deceased but his words echo on as the town's adopted slogan: "Today is life, tomorrow never comes!". Despite the caves and the town having no living hippies remaining, the town retains it's hippy vibe. There are beach bars, artisannal wares and market style shopping to be found around the main beach's crystal clear sparkling waters. In ancient Greek mythology Matala is the beach to which the seduced and kidnapped princess Europa was brought to by Zeus when in the form of a bull.
Matala is most easily accessed by car. It is a 1.5 hour drive from Crete's capital Heraklion.
Matala is so small that you will not need transportation to get around. The bay of the main beach Matala Beach, which the town's buildings line is only 250m in length. Many of the streets in this small town centre are single lane only. Some residents have vehicles but visitors would be advised to park their vehicle at their accommodations or at the main beach paid parking lot.
Beaches and Nature